Dr Ramsey Affifi

Teaching Fellow


Ramsey Affifi completed a PhD in 2015 at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto, and went on to be a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Simon Fraser University's Faculty of Education. He is also the founder of the Sai Nyai Eco School and the nonprofit organization, Sustainable Laos Education Initiatives.


Ramsey Affifi is particularly interested in working with students in 1) examining philosophical aspects of sustainability, ecology, and biology education, and 2) practitioner inquiry (in particular teaching curriculum outdoors; and teaching for sustainability). Please contact him if you study, or are interested in studying, any of these topics.


Ramsey Affifi received 13 EUSA Award Nominations in 2017 (Best Dissertation Supervisor, Best Overall Teacher, Best Practice in Inclusive Teaching and Learning).


Postgraduate teaching

Primary Courses

  • Environmental Philosophy
  • Educating for Environmental Citizenship
  • Sources of Knowledge
  • Research Methods

Secondary Contributor

  • Concept-Based Practice

Areas of interest for supervision

I am particularly interested in working with students interested in the following areas (please see my publications to get a better sense of some of the stuff I have recently worked on):

1) studies into philosophical or conceptual aspects of learning for sustainability, learning outdoors, human-nature interactions, and biology education (including understanding and critiquing biotechnologies),

2) approaches and theory to learning philosophy outdoors,

3) practitioner inquiry / research into effective learning in one or more of these areas,

4) teaching in the context of alternative international development.

5) exploring collaborative and ecological approaches to research.

Current PhD students supervised

David A.G. Clarke, Doctoral Candidate.

Research summary

  • Pedagogical approaches to environmental philosophy, philosophy of biology (especially evolution and development), and philosophy of technology (especially biotechnologies)
  • Theory and practice of place-emergent curricula
  • Teaching biology outdoors
  • Collaborative/ecological approaches to participatory research
  • Autobiographical and arts based research methods
  • Environmental and sustainability education



Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

  • Affifi, R. (Submitted). The nomothetic and the idiographic in environmental education research. Environmental Education Research
  • Affifi. R. (Submitted). Anthropocentrism’s fluid binary. Environmental Education Research
  • Affifi, R. & Christie, B. (2018). Facing loss: Pedagogy of death. Environmental Education Research. Doi: 10.1080/13504622.2018.1446511
  • Affifi, R. (2017). Genetic engineering and human mental ecology: Interlocking effects and educational considerations. Biosemiotics 10(1), 75-98.
  • Affifi, R. (2017). The metabolic core of environmental education. Studies in Philosophy and Education 36(3).
  • Affifi, R., Blenkinsop, S., Humphreys, C. & Joldersma, C. (2017). Introduction to ecologizing philosophy of education. Studies in Philosophy of Education 36(3), 229-241
  • Blenkinsop, Affifi, R, Piersol, and Sitka-Sage, Michael. (2017). Shut-up and listen: Implications and possibilities of Albert Memmi's characteristics of colonization for the "Natural World." Studies in Philosophy and Education 36(3), 249-365.
  • Affifi, R. (2016 ). More-than-humanizing the Anthropocene. The Trumpeter 32(2).
  • Affifi, R. (2016). The semiosis of "side effects" in genetic interventions. Biosemiotics 9(3), 345-364. [invited for special issue on Multilevel semiosis] 
  • Affifi, R. (2015). Generativity in biology. Phenomenology and Cognitive Science 14(1), 149-162
  • Affifi, R. (2014). The interspecies educator's cybernetic world. Kybernetes 42(9/10), 1304-1312.
  • Affifi, R. (2014). Deweyan education and democratic ecologies. Educational Studies 50(6), 573-597.
  • Affifi, R. (2014). Drawing analogies in environmental education. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 19, 80-93.
  • Affifi, R. (2013). Biological pedagogy as concern for semiotic growth. Biosemiotics 7(1), 73-88.
  • Affifi, R. (2012). Learning plants: Between the parts and the whole. Biosemiotics 6(3), 547-559.
  • Affifi, R. (2011). What Weston's spider and my shorebirds might mean for Bateson's Mind: Wandering in Interspecies Curricula. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education 16, 46-58.

Book Chapters and Contributions

  • Jickling, B. et al. (in press). Wild Pedagogies Manifesto. Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Affifi, R. (2018). Deweyan psychology in plant intelligence research:Transforming stimulus and response. In "Memory and Learning in Plants" (Ed. Monica Gagliano). Springer.

 Conference Papers.

  • Affifi, R. (upcoming). "Action research" action research. American Education Research Assocation annual Conference 2018. New York.
  • Affifi, R. (2017). The wild, wide world between anthropocentrism and new materialism. American Education Research Association annual conference 2017, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Affifi, R., (organizer), Blenkinsop, S., Humphreys, C., Laird, S., & Thayer-Bacon, B. (2017). Introduction to Ecologizing Philosophy of Education. Philosophy of Education Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, USA.
  • Affifi, R, Blenkinsop, S., Humphreys, C, Joldersma, C., Laird, S. & Thayer-Bacon, B. (2016) Ecologizing Philosophy of Education. Philosophy of Education Society Annual Meeting, Toronto, Canada.
  • Affifi, R. (2016). Toward an ecologically coherent sense of "more-than-human." American Educational Research Association annual conference 2016, Washington D.C.
  • Affifi, R. (2016). Considerations for a biosemiotic pedagogy for urban design. Reinventing the Urban: Workshop on Habitecture for Wildlife, University of Toronto, Department of Geography and Planning.
  • Affifi, R. (2015). Public understanding of biotechnology in the Age of Evo-Devo. International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology annual conference 2015, Montreal, Canada.
  • Affifi, R. (2015). Genetic engineering and human mental ecology. Fourth Annual EcoJustice and Activism Conference, 2015, Eastern Michigan University, MI.
  • Affifi, R. (2014). Genetics in environmental education: Three challenges. American Educational Studies Association annual conference 2014, Toronto, Canada.
  • Affifi, R. (2014). Addiction and agency during the ecological crisis. American Educational Studies Association annual conference 2014, Toronto, Canada.
  • Affifi, R. (2014). Deweyan education and ecological democracies. Third Annual EcoJustice and Activism Conference, 2014, Eastern Michigan University, MI.
  • Affifi, R. (2013). Totem and Analogy in environmental education. Simon Fraser University's Loon Lake Gathering.
  • Affifi, R. (2013). Plant learning: Possible category changes and experimental considerations in testing for them. International Symposium on Plant Signalling and Behavior 2013, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
  • Affifi, R. (2012). Not pedagogy but "biogogy": On linking biosemiotic and education research. Gatherings in Biosemiotics 12, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.
  • Affifi, R. (2012). Educational ecology: Recursion and responsibility in interspecies interaction. An Ecology of Ideas: 2012 Join Conference of the American Society for Cybernetics and the Bateson Idea Group, Asilomar, California.
  • Affifi, R. (2012). Ecologizing education / educationalizing ecology. Dean's Graduate Student Research Conference 2012, OISE, Toronto, Ontario.
  • Affifi, R. & Phommixay, S. (2011). Educational Leadership at the Say Nyai Eco-school. Proceedings of the 6th World Environmental Education Congress, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Affifi, R. (2011). Ecology is Educational and Education is Ecological: Some Curricular Implications. Proceedings of the 6th World Environmental Education Congress, Brisbane, Australia.


  • Affifi, R. (in press). A review of "The educational significance of human and non-human animal interactions," by S. Rice & A.G. Rud (2016).


  • Affifi, R. (2015). Educating in a multispecies world. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Toronto.
  • Affifi, R. (2008). "Thesis writing" as a prelude to living environmental education. Master's Thesis, Royal Roads University.

Some Articles in Progress

  • A transactional pedagogy for interspecies architecture
  • Addiction and agency during the ecological crisis
  • Plant intelligence in a genetically engineered world
  • Teaching new evolutionary theories outdoors
  • Teaching biology outside the classroom
  • Modularity and integration in environmental education
  • Steps towards ecologizing education research